We passed the halfway mark for IBC 2019 (And the interview with Andy Serkis, which I think we can all agree was a highlight). Between the lights,  cameras, and action of this year’s show, there are some trends that we picked up. 


5G – Not just faster mobile internet

The jump between 4G and 5G is not the same as the jump from 3G to 4G. The latter was just faster mobile internet. 5G has three core features:

  • Fiber-like speed 
  • Low latency (think 1-4ms compared to 50ms for 4G)
  • High connections-per-area (1 million devices per square KM compared to 100 000 for 4G)

The combination of these features has exciting applications for everything from smart homes to gaming that is not device reliant.

5G is like a shift from devices being connected to the internet to devices being a part of the internet. 

Here’s an interview with Daniel Marion, Chief of Information and Communication Technology of UEFA on the implications of 5G for the sports entertainment industry:

4K assumed, 8K expected

Cameras, cloud storage, distribution, screens, and everything else along the value chain should by this time be ready for 4K. It is projected that over 44% of Western European households will own a 4K screen by 2022. 

File:8K, 4K, 2K, UHD, HD, SD.png


8K screens are something else. You can head over to Sony’s exhibition and see the 8K Bravia screen giving you a more intimate look at the Rio Festival floats than any of the festivalgoers would have had. Not only the image quality is shocking, wait until you see the bandwidth requirements.

Signiant estimates that an hour of raw 4K footage will require 741.6GB of storage per hour – raw 8K footage will need 7.92TB! Storage, file transfer solutions, and human eyes will need to catch up if there is a boom in consumer demand for 8K. 

Roll your own

(We are in Amsterdam, after all.)

A more subtle but widespread theme for the event is solutions catering for the long tail of content generation. Marc Andreesen, the founder of Netscape Navigator and the Andreesen Horowitz VC fund, famously said that there are only two ways to make money: bundling and unbundling. User-generated content has evolved over the last couple of years, where creators need more specialized distribution and monetization solutions than the large streaming platforms are providing, effectively unbundling themselves from the larger distributors. 

There are various companies represented at IBC that are ready to provide white-labeled VOD, OTT, and streaming solutions for anyone from religious organizations to trade groups to educational institutions to smaller regional organizations. These channels typically have limited but very loyal viewers. 

Cloud infrastructure from providers like AWS makes it easy to provide core services at any scale, large or small, anywhere in the world. The companies that are profiting from this long tail of specialized channels are those that have off-the-shelf solutions available on a small scale and technologies that can integrate with them. 

At Custos, we are excited about this development, as our forensic watermarking solution can work at any scale since we use distributed detection with blockchain technology. See, for example, how we integrated with LightVault, a Canadian content delivery platform. 

What’s not hot at IBC 2019


Drones were the hot new toy a couple of years ago, but it seems to have been commoditized (and regulated) now to the point where it’s barely represented. 


Another hot topic of yesteryear, it seems most large providers are waiting for a push in consumer demand before doing further developments. There are some noteworthy exceptions like VRTogether, who are pushing a social angle to virtual reality. 


The Blockchain industry has matured past the ‘blockchain as a feature’ mindset, meaning a lot of the flash-in-the-pan companies have moved on to the next trend. Custos is the only company presenting a mature blockchain-supported solution at the event, in our case as a component in our forensic watermarking tracking solution. 


If you are at IBC and interested in forensic watermarking, come say hi at 05A11.